On Wednesday March 22, 2017 I was fortunate enough to attend an advance screening of the new Power Rangers film in King of Prussia, PA. The movie centers around Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack and Trini, who are chosen by the power coins to become the Power Rangers. They must defend the planet against alien threat, Rita Repulsa. Actors Naomi Scott, Dacre Montgomery, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and Becky G. portray the modern day "teenagers with attitude". Elizabeth Banks stars as Rita Repulsa. Rounding out the cast is acclaimed actor Bryan Craston as Zordon. The Lionsgate film is directed by Dean Israelite and rated PG-13 with a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes. Although the plot may seem like a familiar one, we experience it with a modern day twist.
Character development is the super power of this film. The movie shows us exactly why Zordon and Rita are at odds with one another and it's a brand new (and intense) mythology. Photos of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa prior to the films release were met with backlash online. I guarantee you that her green wardrobe makes sense within the first few minutes of the movie. The Rangers themselves are not the over achievers from the original 90's television show. These are teens with a variety of relatable issues stemming from autism to leaking private photos online. Thankfully the writers have done away with the racist Ranger color assignments. In addition to showcasing each Ranger as an individual and the events surrounding their life, the film also focuses on their relationship as a team. The 5 members are first and foremost not friends. Trust, friendship and team work is something they must work towards. And it's not easy.
The Power Rangers learn to tap into their power and work together to fight Rita and Goldar in the films finale. I didn't mind the films run time however I had wished that the characters were able to morph sooner. I found myself disappointed in the big "coming out" scene (one of the Ranger is confirmed to be queer) because it was done in an incredibly vague way. I had hoped for something more open regarding the characters sexuality. I hope to see more action sequences and fight scenes in the sequels now that they have nailed the character development.
There are plenty of nods to the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers that surprisingly worked and wasn't corny. The film was funny without being cheesy. It even pokes fun at itself and their "Iron Man" inspired armor. The special effects with the Zords and other sequences were well done. I am a fan of actress Elizabeth Banks and have seen her work in comedy and drama. I have never seen her play a villain before. She absolutely knocked it out of the park. A great combination of evil, intimidation with a hint of humor. My favorite part of the film was the opening sequence. I absolutely love the new mythology. There is one post credit scene so be sure to stay in your seats.
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would. It was surprisingly great and a real treat for fans of the original series. This is also a good film to introduce the Power Rangers to a new generation.
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